Google has been accused of trying to take over the world, but yesterday the internet giant revealed more details of its plans to help the globe by pouring $175m (£89m) into five philanthropic projects over the next three years.
Its plans to help produce lower-cost renewable energy and encourage the development of non-petrol powered cars have already been revealed, but three more schemes were added to the slate yesterday.
One new scheme, called Predict and Prevent, will target dangerous infections by investing heavily in the development of sophisticated computer tracking systems to allow scientists to speedily identify potential outbreaks, and help the authorities respond to emerging threats.
Elsewhere the company will put money into improving public services in the developing world, as well as encouraging small businesses.
Among the beneficiaries of the investments will be the Instedd (Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disasters) program, based in California, and Pratham, an Indian organization that monitors education. Dr Larry Brilliant, executive director of google.org, said: "We looked for areas where we could make the biggest potential impact. These five initiatives are our attempt to address some of the hard problems we as a world need to face in the coming decade."
Last year the company revealed that its first two schemes would be climate change-related initiatives. The RE<C project aims to improve production methods for renewable energy until it becomes cheaper than coal, while the company’s RechargeIT plan is aimed at increasing the uptake of plug-in vehicles.
Google is the latest hi-tech organization to trumpet its plans for philanthropy. Bill Gates, co-founder and chairman of Microsoft, plans to step down from day to day duties at the company in order to focus on his charitable foundation.